If you go to enough car shows, you can create a virtual checklist of what makes a modified ’69 Camaro badass. Sixty-nine-year-old real estate developer Ron Cates’ Camaro checks all the boxes. Starting with the slick custom paint, hours of welding and smoothing was required before slathering those curves in DuPont Hot Raspberry candy, which is a Hot Hues three-stage paint. Obvious to the eye, the door handles were shaved and the firewall was smoothed. A Foose grille replaced the stock piece. Meanwhile, the ghost stripes are subtle and the mini-tubs are well hidden. Russ Cowart Restorations in Dawsonville, Georgia, is responsible for nearly the entire build, including the paint, bodywork, interior, and wiring. The interior received the same treatment with smoked Vintage Glass, a custom dash with Auto Meter Ultra-Lite gauges, Procar seats, Budnick Buckskin steering wheel, and Buckskin Tan leather interior stitched up by Cutter Custom Stitching.
Balancing that slick form with the aggressive functions that a Camaro was meant to perform, Cates employs a full Detroit Speed suspension and five-speed manual trans. A DSE hydroformed front subframe houses the tubular upper and lower control arms, power rack-and-pinion steering, and a splined front sway bar. It also accommodates meaty BFGoodrich 275/35ZR18 rubber. Out back, DSE’s QUADRALink keeps the massive 335/30ZR18 BFGs in contact with the road. The aggressive stance is owed to DSE drop spindles and coilovers. Budnik 18x10 and 18x12 custom wheels mount the tires and clear the Baer Extreme Plus six-piston brakes. A 9-inch rear with 3.70 gears, TREMEC TKO 500 trans, and RAM 12-inch clutch also help to make the Camaro a blast on the windy roads of Alpharetta, Georgia.
The straightaways belong to an SB2.2 427-cube small-block. If you are not familiar, the SB2.2 was used in NASCAR until around 2007. So it is no surprise that the heads are from Joe Gibbs Racing. They boast 283cc intake runners and massive 2.18- and 1.60-inch titanium valves. Rather than using a cubic-inch limited block like NASCAR, though, Rebird Race Engines chose a Donovan block as the basis of the 427ci wet sump engine, with JE pistons and a Lunati rotating assembly. A Bullet roller cam, Jesel shaft-mount rocker arms, Edelbrock 4150 intake manifold, and QuickFuel 1050 carb are key to turning some rpm. Lemons headers, an MSD distributor, and a Concept One accessory drive system make up the ancillary components.